Gun Control Sources
Issues of gun violence, gun control, and gun rights evoke sharp controversy and contention in America. All too often, people’s opinions on the subject are based on hearsay or selected anecdotes. As stated in our letter to our elected representatives in Washington and Boston, we believe public policy – the public debate informing it – should be based “on information and analysis -- not on slogans, not on political donations, not on lobbyist strength.”
In support of that objective, we have compiled a set of resources that seeks to inform, not inflame, public understanding and to do so from an admittedly Christian moral position. What follows are links to articles, papers, and data sources that we have found informative. It is in no way exhaustive. We welcome suggestions for expanding and improving the catalog.
The first part of this catalog provides links to both the proponents of gun control and those advocating for maintaining our historical gun rights. It also has links to news reports of current events and useful statistical sources. The second part offers resources for people who wish to delve deeper, providing links to articles and papers that are typically longer and which address:
- History and opinion on the public interest
- Response of churches and church-related agencies
- US experience with gun regulation
- Other countries’ experience with gun regulation
- Possible parallels with drunk driving and smoking
Mayors Against Illegal Guns [co-chairs Mayors Michael Bloomberg, New York, and Thomas Menino, Boston]
Joe Nocera, an Op Ed columnist for the New York Times, has been compiling daily logs of our society’s gun violence
FactCheck.org – Gun Rhetoric vs. Gun Facts
The Washington Post – Gun owners vs. the NRA: What the polling shows
Pew Research Center – research on gun control options
In contrast to past mass shootings, the public commentary following the Newtown incident has remained reasonably high.
The Washington Post – Why this gun control debate has been different.
There’s also been an increase in concern about infringement of Second Amendment rights, with a number of political groups pushing action to assert the states’ autonomy and ability to counter federal regulation.
Talking Points Memo – Tracing The Movement To Nullify Federal Gun Laws
Many observers of the US political scene comment on the power of the gun manufacturers’ lobby and the lack of any broad public opposition.
Scholars Strategy Network – America's Missing Popular Movement for Gun Control
Efforts at fact-based legislation are hampered by the restrictions that Congress has placed on the government’s ability to gather statistics and carry out research.
The Boston Globe – The gun lobby's long reach and The University of Chicago Crime Lab – letter to the Biden Commission
The most vocal opponent of gun control is of course the National Rifle Association. Many outside observers see this organization as serving primarily as a lobby for gun manufacturers.
The Huffington Post – NRA Gun Control Crusade Reflects Firearms Industry Financial Ties
Gun manufacturers’ past attempts to cooperate with the government on gun control have been badly punished by consumers. Smith & Wesson nearly went bankrupt in 2000.
Business Insider – How Gun Maker Smith & Wesson Almost Went Out Of Business When It Accepted Gun Control
A number of church organizations have joined together to support the current push for greater gun regulation.
Another interfaith coalition is Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence.
Sojourners, an evangelical voice for social justice, has come out strongly in opposition to the NRA as show in the article The NRA's Dangerous Theology.
The Catholic Church’s pro-life stance has expressed itself in a number of position statements condemning gun violence. In The Firearm and the "Culture of Death", a moral philosopher looks at how the ethics of John Paul II inform thinking about guns.
There is a wide range of gun regulation in the US and broad controversy about its effectiveness. Here are some recent citations about the experience in various parts of our country:
New York Times – Strict Chicago Gun Laws Can't Stem Fatal Shots
Talking Points Memo – Why Gun Control Backers Love To Talk About Duck Hunting
New York Times – And in Last Week's Gun News...
Advocates on both sides often cite other countries’ experience with firearms to bolster the case for or against gun control. For example, Australia is often cited as a case for how a whole country could dramatically restrict gun ownership; while Israel and Switzerland are cited as cases where broad access to firearms does not have negative consequences and may even be beneficial. Here are some sources for people who wish to know more about these countries and their gun control experience.
Official data on crime can be found in the report Australian crime: Facts and figures 2011. See especially the charts on pages 6, 16, and 19.
Journal of Public Health Policy – Gun utopias? Firearm access and ownership in Israel and Switzerland. This research was funded both by National Institute for Child Health and by the JoyceFoundation, a noted advocate of gun control.
Snopes.com points out that while gun ownership in Switzerland is widespread, it is also highly regulated and in particular restricts high-capacity usage.
The Wall Street Journal – Joyce Lee Malcolm: Two Cautionary Tales of Gun Control. Joyce Lee Malcolm, a George Mason constitutional law professor, is a forceful advocate for the view that restrictions on gun ownership weaken society, citing the experience of Great Britain.
The Monkey Cage – The Expiration of the U.S. Assault Weapons Ban Increased Violence in Mexico. Guns are widely and freely available in Mexico, often being imported from the U.S. The one solid evidence in support of the previous assault weapon ban was the effect its demise had on Mexican homicide rates.
Is the significant decline in car fatalities since 1974 a potential model, with changes in safety design, in enforcement, and in social attitudes? There is no group comparable to Mothers Against Drunk Driving in the gun control arena in the U.S. By contrast, Canada has the Coalition for Gun Control.